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Virtual tutors give kids one-on-one time they may not get in virtual or hybrid learning setting

Posted at 6:42 AM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 07:42:26-05

MILWAUKEE — Having one-on-one time with a teacher during COVID-19 can be difficult if you're doing virtual or hybrid learning. Some parents are finding ways around that for their kids from the comfort of their home.

Kathy Carey is one of them. Her teen is doing well in school and she works with a virtual tutor so it can stay that way.

"From the school setting you've got twenty students that are virtual with the teacher. It's harder to make that eye contact with everybody and see them. But the one-on-one tutoring aspect, I think works very well on the virtual side," mom Carey said.

Carey's daughter is doing sessions with Lakeside Educational Services. Carey says it's helped her high-schooler stay organized in a hybrid learning setting.

Judy Cohen started academic coaching almost seventeen years ago. Her company went virtual in spring and hasn't stopped since.

"We are here to back up the school, the curriculum, and the child," Cohen said.

"What are some aspects of virtual tutoring that you think parents don't know about?" TMJ4 News reporter Kristin Byrne asked Cohen.

"Some parents don't understand how much work it is on my end," Cohen explained.

Cohen says her services offer much more than homework help.

"You have to speak the language, especially in math, the language of the teachers," she said.

Cohen says that includes, reading the books the students are reading, being fluent in all the different online learning platforms.

She says they also teach kids how to be advocates for themselves and show them how to improve their organizational skills.

"Now in our world of virtualness, many kids will say, 'I did it. I did it.' But when you look at it, they forget to hand it in," Cohen said.

Cohen says she's also starting new sessions offering life skills for teens.

"Not a psychiatrist or psychologist. It is a life skills coach that can give strategies for some of the anxiety and stress," she said.

Cohen says it may not be in person, but a connection is formed between a tutor and a student.

Milwaukee Public Library saw a need for that too and took its "Teacher in the Library" tutoring program online. It's for children in grades first through eighth.

"We're full most days," says Victoria Sanchez, school-age education specialist with the Milwaukee Public Library.

Sanchez says MPL also started a new virtual program for younger students called "Reading Buddies." Students in first to third grade read with a librarian for a thirty-minute session.

"Gaining confidence just with the encouragement and that warm support from another adult," Sanchez said.

Sanchez says these online programs are offered in the afternoon and are open to any student in Southeast Wisconsin.

Milwaukee Public Library also offers live tutoring help for students via an online program called brainfuse. Sanchez says you do need a library card to access that specific database.

"It was so critical from a service standpoint. But also from an equity standpoint too that we continue to find ways to reach students in our community," said Sanchez.

Cohen says parents don't have to wait until summer school to get their students caught up on academics. They don't have to wait until then to boost their kids' confidence.

"There is nothing wrong with reaching out for help, nothing at all," said Cohen.

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